The best start-ups solve problems. So when Wesley Sanders was left frustrated by the lack of support he received as a tutor working for tutor agencies, he decided to set up his own. Meet Athena Tuition, an online private tuition agency that’s taking London by storm.

Wesley Sanders

Location: London

Elevator pitch:

Athena Tuition is a new online private tuition agency based in Greater London, connecting home tutors from primary school through to university level to people who need their services.

What's the business model?

We’ve built (and will continue to build!) a large database of well qualified, experienced and passionate tutors across London who we intensively interview and have recent DBS checks and proven tutoring ability. We then market their services to parents and students in London who need tuition for themselves or their children, charging a commission on sessions provided.

Who are your competitors?

Traditional tuition agencies such as Greater London Tutors and Fleet Tutors.

What's your USP?

  • Combined tutor search directory and agency platform- the only one in the industry.
  • Our aim to be the best agency for tutors- we already offer tutors 80% of all income collected of parents, plenty of lesson support, feedback for improvement, and immediate payment for sessions and late hours contact availability.
  • Combined Western/Eastern teaching method synthesis.
  • The atmosphere and dynamism of a tech startup rather than a traditional agency.

Where did the idea come from?

Both my co-founder Nelson Lo and I had previously tutored for some of the existing agencies in London and felt the focus on tutors in existing agencies was awful, with very bad support, training and payment delays ranging into months! We knew the widespread need for people who could help people with their academic problems, and thought building a company with tutors as well as clients given top service would help us recruit the best and brightest to help service the demand.

How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?

We received £3,500.

How are you going to use the money to grow your business?

We’ve been using the money to build our tutor search directory, and to support marketing of our existing agency services across London.

Who’s your Virgin StartUp mentor?

Stefano Tresca

What challenge are they helping you overcome?

Stefano has been great in helping us prioritize projects for the business, and as a sounding board for new ideas. Having someone there who’s already had a successful career as an entrepreneur and investor really means his insights come in useful when starting a new business!

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

“If your product genuinely helps people, it tends to sell itself”

Where will your business be in 12 month’s time?

Hopefully starting to branch out of London, working with schools and parents to support more people and tutors and with a thriving AthenaPages sister directory site. In general, we want to close the coverage gap with the incumbent companies and build a brand that people across London trust and associate with a fresh approach to private tuition.

For more information, head to follow them on Twitter @AthenaTuition or like them on Facebook.

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